Monday 14 October 2019

Restaurateur has his assets frozen over €3.9m court judgment

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Aodhan O Faolain and Ray Managh

The High Court has granted a financial fund an order freezing the assets of businessman and restaurateur Peter White.

The temporary order was granted on consent by Mr Justice Michael Quinn yesterday in favour of Feniton Property Finance, which alleges Mr White has been attempting to dissipate assets to frustrate a €3.9m judgment against him in favour of the fund.

The claim is denied and the order is to remain in place until the matter returns before the court next month.

The order was sought arising out of proceedings taken by the fund against Mr White and his wife, Alicia White, and two related companies seeking money Feniton says is outstanding from various loans advanced over a decade ago.

The loans were from Bank of Scotland Ireland but were bought by the fund.

Last July, as part of an agreement reached with the Whites and the companies, Dublin Land Securities and Blue Nile Holdings, it was agreed the court could grant summary judgment totalling €3.9m against the parties in favour of Feniton. Feniton sought the judgments over money loaned to fund the purchase and refurbishment of properties at Wellington Road, Heytesbury Lane, Dublin, and St Stephen's Green, Dublin, and were put into investment funds.

On consent from the parties, Mr Justice Quinn put a stay until December 31 on the execution of the judgment against Peter and Alicia White. That agreement was reached the same day separate proceedings, also involving Feniton, against parties including the Whites' son, publisher Trevor White, were resolved.

Yesterday Feniton, represented by Rossa Fanning SC, returned to the court seeking various orders against Peter and Alicia White, arising out of what counsel said was "an attempt to frustrate the judgment by dissipating assets".

Feniton, counsel said, was seeking orders including one freezing the White's assets and that the stay on the judgment be lifted. It also sought orders that the Whites be cross-examined and provide a statement of affairs detailing how they will fund the judgment.

Jarlath Ryan BL, for Ms White, said his client is ill and was neither objecting nor consenting to any order being made against her.

Gavin Mooney SC, for Mr White, said his client didn't accept Feniton's claims about the dissipation of assets, and if pursued would have "plenty to say" on the matter. However, his client was prepared to consent to the freezing order but asked the amount be widened to allow for medical expenses.

Counsel added that his client would swear a statement of affairs, but was opposed to the stay being lifted.

Mr Justice Quinn said he was not prepared to make any orders against Ms White due to her illness. He said he was satisfied to make the freezing orders against Mr White and that he should swear the statement of affairs.

Irish Independent

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